[DailyMail] The moon has been orbiting Earth for more than four billion years.
But our planet’s faithful companion may not be alone. A new object, dubbed 2014 OL339, has been found masquerading as Earth’s ‘second moon’.
The new ‘moon’, which is in fact a 490ft (150 metre) asteroid, takes about a year to orbit the sun and is close enough to Earth to look like its satellite.
The peculiar object was accidentally discovered on July 29 by astronomer Farid Char of the Chilean University of Antofagasta.
According to Rebecca Boyle writing in New Scientist, 2014 OL339 has been travelling near to our planet for about 775 years and it will continue to do so for another 165 years. It has an elliptical orbit and takes around 364.92 days to circle the sun once, meaning the asteroid and Earth are in ‘resonant orbits’.
This happens when two orbiting bodies exert a gravitational influence on each other due to their orbits being closely related.
For instance, Pluto and Neptune are in an orbital resonance of 2:3. This means for every two times Pluto goes around the sun, Neptune makes three trips around the star. Read More